School Board Meeting Minutes February 16, 2011

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Minutes for Wednesday, 16 February 20

I. Meeting was called to order at 12:35
II. Approval of Voucher
III. Minutes approved as written (out of order, between the two following reports)
IV. Reports:
A. Katelyn Damon, representative for our School Committee, reported on the Special Education Reserve Fund Sub-committee meeting. Representatives from all district towns met to discuss forming a “safety net” of pooled resources that could be tapped into in the event of unanticipated special education costs incurred by a member town. The Sub-committee agreed that such a pool would be very beneficial to the Towns and that the proposed outline for building and operating the fund (from the
Superintendent’s Office) was acceptable. To begin the fund, towns with more than $100,000 in Special Education Reserve would contribute one third of their reserve to the pool. Towns with less than $100,000, would contribute one half of that reserve to the pooled fund. Funds up to 75 K could be borrowed per year from the pool once a town’s special education reserves were exhausted. The proposal now goes to the AOS board, then the final version will go to the local school boards for approval. If approved by our School Committee, our Special Education Reserve Fund would have to be redefined, and the voters would have to approve the new combined reserve fund at Town Meeting (next year). The Superintendent and the Committee thank Katelyn for representing Cranberry Isles on the Sub-committee.
B. Teacher Donna Isaacs introduced Anne Bardaglio, Island Institute Fellow, and together they gave an excellent presentation on the Inter-Island Teaching and Learning Collaborative. The mission of the Collaborative is to create a virtual classroom to expand, support, and strengthen the education taking place in outer-island schools. Teachers and students on the participating islands (Cliff, Isle au Haut, Great Cranberry, Islesford, Matinicus, and Monhegan) use several technological platforms as well as time together physically to work on learning projects thereby forming stronger and more diverse peer groups. Students also have the opportunity to work with a larger and therefore more diverse group of teachers through the Collaborative. This project has been developed with a very thoughtful and deliberate process. The teachers use appropriate “protocols” to structure their work at every stage to foster productive outcomes in very limited time. They outlined the challenges of creating, evaluating, planning and implementing various aspects of the project all at once. A great deal has been accomplished in this first year. The curriculums have been aligned and continue to be developed by participating teachers. Anne presented a video of several students telling how the TLC is helping them. The students have been able to work on several projects together already and show enthusiasm and increased motivation to get involved in their own education through the Collaborative. Participation in group projects is voluntary – not all schools will participate in all projects. Next steps include refining technologies used, coordinating daily schedules, developing collaborative assessments for the project, co-teaching, developing a teacher mentoring program, exploring possibilities of connecting with mainland schools as opportunities arise, and on-going work to assure the sustainability of the schools and the Collaborative.
V. Discussion Item:
Review of February 3, 2011 Meeting with Parents and Community

Chair Barbara Meyers commented on the “fire” that has developed around the purely explorative discussion of alternative options for GCI / Islesford in light of a new population of school children on Great Cranberry. She outlined the issues left to discuss during this meeting (with clearly not enough time remaining) including, in addition to the review of Feb. 3, planning for Town Meeting, Richard Beal’s request for a half hour presentation on the Longfellow/Islesford school issue, the Selectman’s removal of $70,000 from their budget which had been promised for the exterior repair of Longfellow School, developing the Committee’s next steps for the two island school discussion, future agenda, etc.

It was agreed that we had a good turnout February 3, that the meeting went well and was useful in putting the issues before the community. Barbara observed that while all were welcome, parents of current and future students who were our primary invitees did less talking than several other community members.
VI. Action Item:
Approval of Next Steps Regarding the Islesford School and the Longfellow School

A. Brief discussion about the $70,000 for the Longfellow School removed from the budget by the Selectmen.
Barbara: Expensive new windows may be compromised by failure to replace siding as promised this year. There are questions as to if and how we can get it back in the budget. Former School Committee Chair Kate Chaplin outlined the agreement with Selectmen: that until such time as Longfellow was operating as an active school again, they would take care of resolving the deferred maintenance within their budget and that the School Committee retained the right to approve projects, make aesthetic and materials decisions, and have oversight on safety procedures.
Barbara: A schedule of projects was developed by former Town employee Eric Dyer, which included residing for this year. He assured us during the window project that the money for the siding would be in the budget, and based on that assurance, some work on the windows was put off in order to mesh with the siding project.
B. Report requested by Selectman Beal for Town Meeting can be brief. We will outline the reason for discussion and what we have done so far. Rob: The meeting may give you direction for next steps in the process.
C. Discussion with audience on several points in the Islesford/Longfellow debate and the “Where do we go next?” question.
Katherine Fernald: How much is this going to cost?
Barbara: It is too soon to determine costs until we know what is needed. The Committee has budgeted $10,000 for basic preparation and staffing for Longfellow, to have on hand if required.
K.F.: Be prepared to present costs for Town Meeting.
Kate Chaplin: Biggest hurdle is the commuting, safety, and after school lag. Discuss possible solutions with David Bunker and Karl Brunner? Possibly hire a boat only for school. After-school program at INNH? One school is ideal educationally. If we can figure out the boating situation, it would make it more appealing to all parents.
David Axelrod: Great Cranberry needs to decide whether they want to open their school.
General agreement that the danger is higher on the docks than under weigh. There are two discussions needed: immediate for coming school year and long-term.
Rob: Time and energy better spent solving boating dilemma than which school to open.
Ruth Kermish-Allen: Islesboro operates as a magnet school. 200 round-trips paid by the school board each year.
Donna: We have proposed solutions without properly identifying the needs. How do we meet the needs of GCI so that that community feels that they have a school too?
Kate: Maybe we should change the name of Islesford School to Cranberry Isles School?
Barbara: The name may be significant, but it’s important to realize that everything that matters to you about having your children go to school on Islesford, Cranberry Island parents want too.
Ruth K-A: The Island Institute can help with any data/examples from other island schools, if needed.
No action taken.
Katelyn moves, and Barbara seconds, adjournment at 3:10 without addressing Future Agenda Items or Other Business.

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