Tonight's meeting consisted largely of a presentation on curriculum and professional development by Mike Hayes, K to 12 Curriculum Administrator, and Fran Ziperstein, Director of Professional Development and Curriculum. This presentation included information on the current curriculum cycle of revision and evaluation as well as the district's plan for providing professional development and evaluation to teachers. I asked two questions about the presentation: the current state of the social studies review (this review is still in its early stages) and how we compare our own disrict to other districts (this process is not particularly established, meaning we don't have a set of comparison districts by which to evaluate our own curriculum).
Andy Churchill suggested (like he did earlier at the Amherst School Committee Meeting) that we have a "How are We Doing Committee." This sub-committee was established, and will include Andy, Marianne Jorgensen (Shutesbury), Elaine Brighty (Amherst), and me.
We then turned to discuss how items are placed on the agenda for School Committee meetings. This item was added at my request, following persistent frustration that I've experienced throughout my time on the School Committee in terms of getting issues on the agenda (I send ideas to the Chairs and yet these ideas are virtually never placed on the agenda). It was made clear that any members of School Committee can suggest ideas, but that the chair can choose not to put the item on the agenda. However, any member can then request a vote on whether an item could be put on the agenda--if that motion is seconded, a vote will occur. So, watch for some motions and votes in the future!
My Goal in Blogging
I started this blog in May of 2008, shortly after my election to the School Committee, because I believed it was very important to both provide the community with an opportunity to share their thoughts with me about our schools and to provide me with an opportunity for me to ask questions and share my thoughts and reasoning. I have found the conversation generated on my blog to be extremely helpful to me in learning community views on many issues. I appreciate the many people who have taken the time to share their views. I believe it is critical to the quality of our public schools to have a public discussion of our community priorities, concerns and aspirations.