MINUTES FOR THE LINCOLN SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING OF
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
9:00 AM Open Session
Hartwell Multi-purpose room, Lincoln

Present: Julie Dobrow (Chair), Laurie Manos, Dennis Picker, Cathy Rogers, Pam Borgert (Hanscom Representative), Corie Cruise (Hanscom Representative).
Also present: Mickey Brandmeyer (Superintendent), Paul Naso (Assistant Superintendent), Dave Jack (Business Administrator).
Absent: Sandy Hessler
  1. Greetings and Call to Order
    Ms. Dobrow called the meeting to order at 9:02 A.M.

    `

  2. Chairperson�s and Members� report
    Ms. Dobrow reported that she attended both graduations and several award ceremonies, the events came off well, and she congratulated the faculty, staff and students. Ms. Rogers attended the first annual field day for the Lincoln School grades K to 5 and she thanked the faculty members and parents who made it possible. Ms. Manos attended the 7th and 8th grade awards ceremony at the Lincoln School. She said she would like to see an article in the Lincoln Journal on the success of the Lincoln and Hanscom students.

  3. Public Comments
    Gertrude Webb said that she enjoyed the Lincoln School graduation and suggested that the school should find a way to recognize all graduates rather than the few that received awards.

    Marty Fahey said that there is a lot of public interest in the leadership structure for the Lincoln School and encouraged the Committee to continue discussions about it.

  4. Consent Agenda
    Mr. Picker asked that the Field Trip Proposal be held out for discussion. Mr. Picker moved that the items remaining on the consent agenda (Summer Hours, Accept Gift, and After School Music Program Fees) be accepted. Ms. Rogers seconded the motion. All elected members voted in favor, with Ms. Borgert and Ms. Cruise concurring.

  5. Time Scheduled Appointments
    1. FinCom Presentation
      John Robinson, Chair of the Lincoln Finance Committee, and Robert Steinbrook, Vice Chair and Liaison to the School Committee, appeared before the School Committee to discuss their proposal to develop a financial analysis of the cost and financial benefits of operating the Hanscom Schools. They said that they intend to look at economies of scale and the real costs that the Town of Lincoln would assume if Lincoln were to no longer operate the Hanscom Schools. Mr. Brandmeyer thanked the Finance Committee for their work and offered to provide information and data for the analysis. Ms. Dobrow thanked the Mr. Robinson and Mr. Steinbrook.

    2. Superintendent�s Recommendation for Appointment of Administrator for Business and Finance
      Mr. Brandmeyer explained that he recently conducted a search for the position of Administrator for Business and Finance to find a successor for Dave Jack who has accepted an appointment as Assistant Superintendent in Amesbury, MA. Mr. Brandmeyer thanked Dave Jack for his work and said that he will be missed. Mr. Brandmeyer said that: Dennis Picker, Robert Steinbrook, Paul Naso, and Randy Davis served on the search committee; twenty- four applications were received; six candidates were selected for interview; and three finalists visited the campus for additional interviewing and time on campus. Mr. Brandmeyer recommended that the District hire Susan Bottan, the Director of Business and Finance for the Lexington Public Schools. Mr. Brandmeyer said that there will be a transition plan and that he wants Ms. Bottan to begin the transition July 1 with Ms. Bottan coming on full- time on August 1. Mr. Brandmeyer said that Ms. Bottan had given Lexington notice last fall because of administrative transition in Lexington and personal reasons. He said that her recommendation from the Lexington Superintendent was outstanding. Mr. Picker moved that the School Committee vote its support the Superintendent�s hiring of Ms. Bottan. Ms. Rogers seconded the motion. All elected members voted in favor, with Ms. Borgert and Ms. Cruise concurring.

      Barbara Low thanked Dave Jack for the help that he has given the Communications Subcommittee and other community groups.

    3. 2005-2006 Goals
      1. District Goals
        Mr. Brandmeyer said that this was the fourth discussion of the proposed district goals and that, in response to concerns of some School Committee members, he added, under Leadership and Governance, component number 4 �[a]ssess the organizational and leadership structure of the Lincoln School and identify and plan for future direction.� He said that the one additional change from the goals presented at the June 9 meeting was to change, under the Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, the wording of component number 3 to read �[c]omplete and begin implementation of the district�s Technology Plan.�

        Mr. Picker commented regarding the aspirational goal of Leadership and Governance that acting as a role model for students is a secondary goal and that the goal might better talk of striving to meet the community�s high expectation for a great student experience.

        Mr. Picker said that he has concerns about the addition of component 4 to the leadership components. He reminded the Committee that the administration looked at the leadership structure for the Lincoln School this year, that forums were held, the leadership structure was discussed at multiple School Committee meetings, and that the School Committee took an explicit decision that the leadership model is no longer interim.

        Ms. Dobrow said that at the last meeting the School Committee discussed: the need to consider the structure of the school; and whether it should be a K to 8 school, a lower school and a middle school, or one school with three clusters. She said that the School Committee contemplated the need to address two questions: (1) what is the optimal structure of school? and (2) what is the optimal leadership structure for the school? Consideration of these questions would take place over the next couple of years. The administration would consider question three: who are the appropriate people to staff the leadership model that is decided upon?

        Mr. Brandmeyer presented his thoughts on how the administration could take a three year look at the administrative structure. In Year 1, the district would budget for three school based administrators in FY07, since this has to happen very early in the school year, and assess the organizational and leadership structure throughout the academic year. In Year 2, the district would identify a plan for the optimal organizational and leadership structure and would budget for the plan identified for FY08. In Year 3, the district would implement the plan for the organizational and leadership structure and budget appropriately for future years. Ms. Brandmeyer said that the current clusters have been in place for almost 10 years. He noted that the question of whether the individuals in the leadership positions are effective is the superintendent�s to determine. Mr. Brandmeyer noted that many external factors could affect decisions about the leadership structure of a school, such as legislation and the outcome of negotiations to run the Hanscom schools. Mr. Brandmeyer said that if there is need to discuss the structure of the Hanscom schools this could be done under key component number 6.

        The Committee discussed the need to make sure that addressing structure of the school and leadership does not take energy away from professional and curriculum development and the desirability of keeping this initiative to a manageable level. There was discussion of whether some of the discussion on these topics could occur under the auspices of those working on the mission/vision plan.

        Ms. Manos said that she feels addressing the structure and leadership of the Lincoln School is important. She also expressed her concern that the community needs greater input into the process of discussion about structure and leadership.

        Richard Jewett applauded the three year model and a long term look at structure and leadership.

        Ms. Dobrow moved that the School Committee vote to approve the district�s goals for 2005-2006. Mr. Picker seconded the motion. All elected members voted in favor, with Ms. Borgert and Ms. Cruise concurring.

      2. School Committee Goals
        Ms. Dobrow said that she added language which incorporated the Committee�s suggestions about community involvement and school culture. Mr. Picker suggested that oversight of the technology plan and of the teacher evaluation program be added as benchmarks under goal three on oversight. Ms. Dobrow moved that the School Committee vote to adopt the School Committee goals for 2005-2006 as amended. Ms. Manos seconded the motion. All elected members voted in favor, with Ms. Borgert and Ms. Cruise concurring.

    4. Review of School Committee Work Plans
      1. Mission Vision
        In Ms. Hessler�s absence, Ms. Manos presented the Mission/Vision work-plan. The Committee determined that the membership of the Mission/Vision Subcommittee should be approved by the School Committee. Over the summer the charge for the Subcommittee will be developed. The charge will be reviewed at the first School Committee meeting in September and criteria will be determined for Subcommittee membership. The School Committee will then advertise for members. Appointments will be made at the October 1 meeting. The following suggestions were made: delete �share mission/vision at Town Meeting,� as this might not be the most appropriate vehicle for this communication, and change �insure 06/07 planning aligns� to �insure 06/07 district goals align.� A vote on the Mission/Vision was deferred until the next meeting.

      2. Communications
        Ms. Manos presented the Communications work-plan which set forth current efforts to be continued, current efforts to be modified, and new/proposed efforts. On the suggestion of enhancing the School Committee web page, the Committee considered the reality that plans need to be made for Mr. Picker�s replacement as web master; the importance that they consider, first, how not to lose ground and, second, whether there are things they want to improve; and the need to think in concert with the administration, the technology plan, and the district web site. The Committee discussed the need to extend their communications efforts to Hanscom as well as Boston families. Ms. Cruise will join the Subcommittee and the Committee determined to find an additional Hanscom member for the Communications subcommittee. Ms. Borgert said that there are not yet School Committee bulletin boards at Hanscom but that permission has been given for them.

        Marty Fahey commented that it would be helpful if the School Committee were to take a proactive approach to explaining the big issues so that someone who wants to become more involved can gain the knowledge needed quickly.

        On School Committee coffees, it was suggested that �SC only; SC & Admin.; Principals� be deleted since the School Committee is responsible for only School Committee coffees and not those of the administration or the leadership team. Adding School Committee coffees at Hanscom, perhaps one in the fall and one in the spring was suggested. Ms. Borgert said that role of the School Committee and the administration is not well understood at Hanscom.

        Ms. Dobrow moved that the School Committee adopt the Communications work-plan as amended. Ms. Manos seconded the motion. All elected members voted in favor, with Ms. Borgert and Ms. Cruise concurring.

      3. Policy
        Ms. Rogers presented the Policy work-plan. The Committee discussed whether it is realistic and desirable to attempt to revise the entire policy book in one year. They discussed the possible drain on administrative resources and legal budget from attempting to determine whether regulations are in line with state and federal regulation. They considered how this large job could be tackled and how much should be attempted in the coming year. Suggestions included: age-screening to eliminate outdated policies and topic screening this year; deleting out of date policies and making a plan for review of sections over the years; and purchasing the MASC Policybook for $500. It was suggested that an informal log be kept on how much central office time goes into policy review.

        Mr. Jewett said that the policy book is uneven and hard to access and suggested that a framework for policy be developed so that all policies would have a uniform format. Ms. Low suggested that some changes and deletions could be considered in a consent agenda.

        Mr. Picker moved that the Policy work-plan be adopted. Ms. Dobrow seconded the motion. All elected members voted in favor, with Ms. Borgert and Ms. Cruise concurring.

    5. Appointment of Lincoln School Facilities Committee
      The School Committee appointed Robert Zakarian and Todd Helmus to the Facilities Committee. Al Schmertzler will be the Selectmen�s representative to the Committee. Ms. Dobrow said that the Finance Committee and the Capital Planning Committee declined to have a representative on the Committee and asked to be kept up to date. The Committees charge includes looking at its resources and the timeline and asking for additional resources if needed.

      Mr. Helmus said that he is concerned that many constituencies are not represented. He noted that a facilities project will be a big ticket item and it is important to get input up front. Ms. Dobrow said today�s appointments do not preclude other appointments later, that part of the Facilities Committee�s work will be to get input from other constituencies who use or are impacted by the school facilities, and that all meetings of this group will be open and posted so that anyone wishing to can attend.

    6. Update on Staffing for 2005-2006
      Mr. Naso presented an update on staffing for next year. He said that many of the newly hired teachers will be involved in some summer work. The work of matching teachers with mentors has begun. He noted that a mentor to a teacher new to teaching can receive more compensation than a mentor for an experienced teacher who is new to Lincoln. Ms. Manos suggested that measures be taken to alleviate anxiety of parents of Lincoln School third graders because of staff turnover. Mr. Naso said that the third grade team will be doing some science work over the summer and that this will also provide an opportunity for the team to gel. He also noted that two or three of the teachers hired for the Lincoln third grade have significant experience. It was suggested that these facts would offer some reassurance to parents, and that they could be conveyed in the letter that is sent home informing parents about who their child�s teacher for next year will be.

  6. Superintendent�s Report
    Ms. Brandmeyer congratulated the teachers and students on graduation. He also said Ballfield Road is being paved.

  7. Curriculum
    1. Report on Summer Curriculum and Professional Development
      Mr. Naso provided an overview of summer work and a list of professional development activities that the district is supporting this summer. Mr. Naso explained that under the new teachers� contract, compensation for summer work is at three different levels. At level three, a full per diem is paid for the highest level of participation. At levels one and two, less is paid for less participation. Activities taking place up to June 30 are supported by the Kindergarten grant and the 05 budget. Activities after June 30 are funded though the 06 budget or the Title II grant.

  8. Budget and Financial
    1. Report on FY05 Year End
      Mr. Jack presented a report on the financial status of the Lincoln schools through June 20. For the Lincoln School, $21,581 is available for expenditures through the end of the fiscal year to pay for costs such as substitutes and overtime for custodians that occurred in the last part of the school year. $20,000 has been used for purchases of new library materials. The year will end in a positive position. Encumbered salaries are because some teachers choose to be paid over 26 pay periods rather than 22 thus spreading their income over the summer. The balances left over in the Hanscom contract carry over to the next year so it is not as important to make end of year expenditures. At this time $253,111.54 is available in the Hanscom budget. Under the Hanscom contract $486,423 was carried forward from past years. This acts as a contingency fund under the fixed price contract. Mr. Brandmeyer said that this year the safety coating of windows and other repairs at Hanscom were paid out of the monies carried forward from prior years. Some work on the playground would also come out of the money carried forward. He also said that $100,000 of the money carried forward is designated for potential out of district placements. The size of the balance carried forward is appropriate in light of the size of the contract. Mr. Brandmeyer said that over the next year this reserve will be spent to improve the programs at the Hanscom schools so that no money is left at the end of the contract.

      Mr. Jack noted that the Hanscom playground will be going in on July 5. Ms. Borgert asked whether the Hanscom library was assessed at the same time that the Lincoln assessment was done. Mr. Brandmeyer said that the assessment came out of the Lincoln School Improvement Plan, was initiated at the school level, and that the Hanscom library hasnt been looked at as closely.

      Ms. Dobrow thanked Mr. Jack for the report and for his work.

    2. Warrant Approval
      Mr. Manos reported that she has examined the warrant articles and that they are in order. She moved that the School Committee approve warrant articles in the amount of $1,933,916.26. Mr. Picker seconded the motion. All elected members voted in favor, with Ms. Borgert and Ms. Cruise concurring.

  9. Old Business
    None.

  10. New Business
    1. Field Trip Proposal
      Mr. Picker suggested that a sentence in the proposed letter to parents be revised so that that it is consistent with the District policy on scholarship aid. Mr. Naso will edit the letter so that it is consistent with the Districts policy. Ms. Dobrow moved that the proposed trip be approved with this change. Ms. Rogers seconded the motion. All elected members voted in favor, with Ms. Borgert and Ms. Cruise concurring.

    2. Proposal to Hire Educational Technology Consultant
      Mr. Brandmeyer proposed that the district issue a RFP seeking consultants to support the design of an Educational Technology Plan including curriculum design and professional development. Mr. Brandmeyer said that this additional support will permit the district to make progress in its technology planning. This would be funded partly out of the school budget and partly with funds from other sources (gifts and grants). The estimated expenditure would be from $50,000 to $70,000. The RFP would ask for support in three areas. Bidders could bid on the entire project or on particular components. Mr. Naso said that they would like for consultants who: (1) know the educational uses of technology, (2) can help teachers think specifically about how to use technology to make learning more powerful, and (3) can help develop a common experience and knowledge of technology for our students. Ms. Dobrow suggested the MIT Media lLb and Chris Rogers and Marina Bers at Tufts as possible sources for identifying consultants. Mr. Picker will be representing the School Committee in developing the RFP. The Committee considered how a range of technology options could be addressed in the RFP and the possibility of developing a core program and an enrichment program.

      Ms. Dobrow moved that the School Committee authorize Mr. Brandmeyer to issue an RFP for Educational Technology Support. Ms. Manos seconded the motion. All elected members voted in favor, with Ms. Borgert and Ms. Cruise concurring.

  11. Approval of Minutes
    Ms. Dobrow moved that the School Committee approve the minutes of June 9 as amended. Ms. Manos seconded the motion. All elected members voted in favor, with Ms. Borgert and Ms. Cruise concurring.

  12. Information Enclosures

  13. Adjournment
    Ms. Dobrow moved that the Committee adjourn to Executive Session for the purpose of discussing contract negotiations. Ms. Manos seconded the motion. The motion was approved by the following roll call:
    Ms. Dobrow yes
    Ms. Manos - yes
    Mr. Picker yes
    Ms. Rogers yes
    Ms. Borgert yes
    Ms. Cruise yes

    The Committee adjourned to Executive Session at 11:25 A.M.

Respectfully submitted,
Sara Rolley, School Committee Recording Secretary