Superintendent's Report for January, 2013
In last month's report, I explained that for the coming months my monthly report for both the MSAD # 28 Board and the Five Town CSD Board will be organized by reporting progress toward each of the Board's three goals. While it is important to maintain a focus to make forward progress, it is also important to be responsive to the evolving issues that confront us on a regular basis. Sadly, an issue that has always been prominent for us but has heightened in intensity because of the tragedy in Connecticut is the issue of school safety. Early in the year, administrators met to review and update the Emergency Plans for each school. We then met with police and fire department leaders from both Camden and Rockport and Knox County Emergency Management for an external review of our plans. We have plans for further training with our first responders at the beginning of the year. We will continue to work with staff, parents, and community leaders to maintain vigilance in the security of our schools. In an effort to take a positive action that is community wide, we initiated a monetary collection for the Sandy Hook School, and send $3250 to the fund that has been set up for that district.
A second issue that has gained prominence in our daily work is the effect of the curtailment to close the funding gap created by the $35 million dollar shortfall in state revenue. The increase in expectation for locally raised funds is $28,910.99 for the Five Town CSD. We will make up that curtailment in the Five Town CSD by carefully scrutinizing expenditures for the remainder of the year, and postponing some expenditures in each department.
In spite of those two important issues of school safety and budget, we still managed to maintain forward progress toward our goals:
Goal: Long Range Facilities Plan and Vision for MSAD # 28
The joint facilities committee for MSAD # 28 and Five Town CSD has met to identify long range needs for both districts. The committee reviewed the space needs as outlined:
- Bus Barn, additional bus bays are needed to service the buses. Currently, only one bus can be worked on at a time, which creates an issue in the colder months.
- Central Office, permanent space is needed and options include; moving back to the Elm Street School, moving into a rented space, finding space as part of the middle school renovation.
- Zenith has space needs, depending upon the vision that is created for this program, the size of the program, whether the enrollment will increase. With the current size of the program and number of teachers, one additional classroom is needed.
- Adult Education needs a classroom space for their day program for adult education, which would not be an appropriate fit within any current education environment.
- Grade 5 discussion included a review of the history of grade 5 placement. It was clear that CRES was designed and built for grades K-4. The option of moving grade five is not supported at this point in time.
- Elm Street School, SAD District space. The committee felt we should continue to lease the space to the Montessori School. Taking that space back, and bringing that building up to code to meet any of our space needs would be very expensive and not seen as feasible.
- CRMS: The current space has met educational needs, but does not allow for additional small space needs for individual instruction in a standards based system. The design of the current building is not always conducive to the use. For example, the only flow for student from one point in the building to the other is through the current cafeteria and the lunch line divides that path. Some of the space is not currently used based on poor condition and location. A safer bus loop and traffics pattern needs to be addressed as well.
The joint facilities committee agreed to continue discussion at each district board regarding space issues and to meet again as a joint facilities committee. Topics for joint district discussion included:
- Zenith's new vision as possibly an option in the Teen Center.
- Plan of how one or two bus bays could be configured into the Bus Barn in one fashion or another.
- Plan for Adult Ed. taking over the rest of the Bus Barn with and without extensive renovations.
- Potential for the Central Office to move into a potential space as part of potential CRMS renovation.
- CRMS renovation according to design requirements to meet the spaces needs of 21st Century education.
The joint facilities committee also discussed an abutting piece of property to the high school. Coastal opportunities provided us with an appraisal on a 14-acre parcel that could be used by the high school for additional fields or a small building. The committee also reviewed a report by Woodard & Curran completed in 1999 that was a comprehensive facilities review and audit of school buildings for the MSAD #28 District.
The MSAD Facilities Committee discussed the new boiler for CRMS, which is in place and up and running. The old pieces of the boiler are stored for later use in storage.
The MSAD Facilities Committee also reviewed the draft RFP for Architectural/Engineering Services. The committee discussed whether the language needed to be more specific as to the type of learning space and program we would be looking for. The committee decided that the general language was good and through conversation we will be able to be more specific with an architect. Other changes to the document that were recommended; The scope of the study will include a renovation of the Camden Rockport Middle School site; Attend, gather and provide information at community forum meetings, Provide assistance and make appropriate recommendation regarding design improvement, materials, equipment selection, safety and security systems/ measures, and cost savings. The committee will review the RFP at its next meeting; a suggestion was to watch the video of how the elementary school was established with the community.
Goal: Improve technology:
The Technology Committee has been established as a board advisory committee and the charge of the committee has been approved. Russ Holden and Bob Iannuzzi have been working with the initial technology committee that was formed this fall to develop a Technology Plan. This group has a draft technology plan completed and is in the process of gaining further input before the plan is sent to the Board for approval. This initial technology committee will be replaced by the board technology advisory committee. It will be essential to increase teacher membership on this committee and to provide an opportunity for staff leadership in order to gain full utilization of technology to transform educational practices.
Goal: Standards Based Education:
I have been working with administrators to take stock of the current status of standards based education at each of the schools. It is important for people to recognize that a good deal of work is already in progress as we move toward a standards based system. At CHRHS, all courses are designed to meet either the Maine Learning Results, which is still in effect for many content areas, National standards, and the Common Core. Teachers are identifying and posting specific learning goals and essential outcomes for student learning. Teachers use rubrics to evaluate student learning, and are developing rubrics for civic and social outcomes. PowerSchool captures a number of assessments, both formative and summative, and tests used by departments are comprised of 80% common items. The Art and Science of Teaching Steering Committee is conducting instructional rounds to observe each other teaching, and the Steering Committee will reconvene this month to determine the next steps that are needed to bring this framework for instruction to full fruition. A group of teachers attended a three-day training with Marzano researcher and author, Debra Pickering, to identify critical reasoning skills that need to be taught and assessed as students meet higher academic expectations.
Other Areas of Activity:
The newly formed International Advisory Committee has met and started the work of defining the scope and scale of the international cultural experiences for students.
I have spent a fair amount of time this month in discussions with administrators of the Midcoast School of Technology to gain a fuller understanding of the issues surrounding technical regions and to attempt to define an improved admission process so that our students can take full advantage of the courses and opportunities offered.
I am very conscious of the need to be involved in the life of the schools and communities beyond the school day. Toward that end, I have recently become a member of the West Bay Rotary will full intention of participating in service to the community. I have had my monthly reports posted on the school website, met with VIE as our student Board representatives did an outstanding job of discussing their school experience, and met on a regular basis with members of the press.