Summary of Superintendent Lupini’s Forum at Pierce School - March 8, 2013
I. Superintendent’s opening statement
Long-Term: B-SPACE committee charged with exploring solutions for beyond 2015 and outline what a new school could look like. Superintendent is advocating for a school to start in SY 15-16. School department will present some possible ideas to the Committee at the next meeting, Monday, March 11. One consideration for a long-term solution is whether it will help address the oncoming space crunch at the high school. (Projection—2,500 high school students by 2022.)
B-SPACE website: http://www.brooklinema.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1503:committee-on-space-planning-for-enrollment-growth-in-the-public-schools&catid=326:boards-appointd-by-selectmen&Itemid=1742
Short-Term: District hopes to place modular classrooms at Lawrence School for SY 13-14. This could help Pierce because of the Pierce/Lawrence buffer zone.
Thursday evening, March 14: Presentation of budget to School Committee.
Superintendent’s budget message available for download:
The message states a primary goal reflected in budget decisions—to use scarce funds to keep classroom sizes relatively low.
Proposed cuts include eliminating the ECS program (which could be slated for restoration with a redesigned program if additional revenues are realized) and reducing K-3music to once per week. In addition, there is a proposed increase in the fee for athletic participation at the high school.
Brookline’s final budget is greatly influenced by what happens with the state budget. Gov. Patrick’s proposed budget would give significant support to the Brookline school budget, but there is not much support in the state legislature for the Governor’s budget.
Town of Brookline continues its strong support of the School Department. It is codified that there be a 50/50 split of revenues between Town and School Department. This year, as in recent past, School Department has received more than its 50% of revenues, plus an additional $750K in growth money allocated before the split was figured.
Superintendent anticipates that the earliest an override could be considered would be 2014, because the Town requires an override study committee before one gets proposed and put on a ballot.
Upcoming budget forums:
Tuesday, March 19, 6:30PM, Baker School Library
Wednesday, March 20, 8:15AM, Town Hall Room 103
II. Highlights from the Question and Answer Period
Summary of PTO/Superintendent January 2013 Meeting
Summary of PTO/Superintendent December 2012 Meeting
1. Social Competency and Bullying Prevention
- Olweus Bullying Prevention Program has been selected by Brookline Schools to be implemented in Gr K-12
- Goals are to reduce existing bullying problems among students, prevent the development of new bullying problems and achieve better peer relations at school
- Includes component in the school, in each classroom, with individuals and throughout the community
- to date Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committees at each elementary school have been formed and trained, 856 staff have been trained, there have been staff discussion groups and an annual Olweus Bullying Questionnaire was administered to students grades 3-9 in Spring 2012
- full roll out to students and parents to begin Winter 2013 (stay tuned for details)
- 2 other social competency programs are being used also: Responsive Classroom in gr k-5 and Development Design Gr 6-8
2. Addressing Enrollment Growth
- Reviewed Goals for Medium Growth Development (next 2 years)
- Goals include maintaining reasonable class size, avoiding Educational Program compromises, plan the necessary short-term measures needed to enhance long-term vision, long-term return of Pre-ks to the K-8 school buildings (though some will be moved out to other facilities in the short term), Pay attention to common spaces for future adaptations, retain METCO and Staff Materials Fee Program (total of 450 across district), study and research appropriate sizes for school facilities
- A few stats: current 8th gr enrollment is 446, current kindergarten is 666 - helps to demonstrate accelerated growth
- 12 new sections added this year, anticipate 10 new sections next year and 7 the year after that - currently exploring how to accommodate this (such as portable classrooms, renting class space outside of schools, reconfiguring current spaces)
- Concept study underway for the high school for future scenarios
- Govern Patrick announced municipal cuts yesterday which will impact Brookline (and other urban school districts). These include cuts in Circuit Breaker (reimbursement to districts for out-of-district special education placements) and transportation for homeless students
- Currently running a deficit of $425k for Quarter 1, exploring costs cuts for the remainder of the year which include reviewing all open positions, all materials, professional development and any other discretionary costs
- ECS pre-program review scheduled for Dec. 17, 7-8 pm
- Math program review postponed to ensure Brookline math can complete its alignment with new MA core curriculum standards
Summary of PTO/Superintendent November 2012 Meeting
1. Steps to Success: Steps to Success is a program in the Brookline public schools focused on low income students, "Working with young people from Grade 4 through college, Steps seeks to break through the attitudes and substantive barriers — both personal and institutional — that often make it difficult for low-income students to succeed in school and pursue higher education." They presented to increase awareness about this program across all Brookline schools. They are always looking for adult volunteers, check the website for details. http://www.stepstosuccessbrookline.org/
2. 'Non-Tax" Revenue Procedures - Dr. Lupini is charged with developing administrative guidelines for school-based organizations (PTO, friends groups, extended day, etc.) to implement the School Committee's newly approved policy on fundraising dollars raised by these organizations. These guidelines are still in draft and are expected to be finalized by December. They include guideline around PTO spending for technology, professional development, library, field trips, specialized equipment and capital additions/ upgrades. These guidelines outline what is appropriate for these organizations to spend their dollars on and where expenditures need School Committee approval and how to collaborate with the appropriate School Department staff and administrators through this process. Once finalized these guidelines will be posted.
3. Educator Evaluation - There is a new law regarding educator evaluation that includes changes in performance standards and ratings as well as additional feedback inputs, such as staff feedback on principals. Brookline Schools are currently piloting a new educator evaluation of which 42 teachers and 40 evaluators are participating. This pilot includes non-classroom and classroom teachers, it includes increased unannounced classroom visits, SMART (specific, measurable, appropriate, realistic, timely) goals by all participants, self-assessments and 2 evaluations. The pilot will be complete by March so that the findings can be reviewed and incorporated into a new system.
Summary of PTO/Superintendent October 2012 Meeting
1. Hiring Profile- presented by Dr. Angela Allen, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources
Dr. Allen presented on the strategy for hiring teachers in Brookline. She presented an analysis of teacher profiles, focused on their racial/ethnic diversity. 105 ‘new to the position’ teachers were hired (18% were current Brookline employees and 82% were new to Brookline) and 125 new paraprofessionals were hired for the current school year. Paraprofessionals hired most often are certified teachers and many have Master’s degrees in education. Paraprofessionals are also seen as a ‘pipeline’ for future teachers.
In terms of the racial/ethnic diversity of teaching staff, there is a strategy and intention to increase diversity in the PSB. Using the classifications mandated by the state, Brookline currently has 90.09% ‘white’ and 9.1% ‘non-white’ teachers. The state as a whole has 93% ‘white’ and 7.1% ‘non-white’ teachers, so Brookline is currently more diverse in its teacher profile. However, this breakdown is not reflective of our student population nor is it ‘where we want to be.’ (Note: A question was asked about gender breakdown of teachers, but that data was not available during this meeting. It will be sent out to the group later.)
As such, Dr. Allen is reviewing current hiring practices to try and create innovative strategies to increase the diversity of our teachers. These include seeking out a variety of job fairs, thinking creatively about how to use these job fairs, creating partnerships with colleges and universities that have a more diverse student population, and long term partnering programs, such as Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Teachers.
2. Non- Tax Revenue Policy – presented by Dr. Lupini, Superintendent of Schools
The School Committee passed a new policy regarding ‘non-tax revenue’ for schools in September 2012. This work was completed after a long debate last spring over a proposed ‘non-tax revenue’ project for a new Heath School auditorium. The policy will shortly be posted to the School Committee’s web site at http://www.brookline.k12.ma.us/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50&Itemid=135.
The School Committee’s adoption of the policy included a mandate that the Superintendent’s office draft administrative guidelines for the implementation of this policy. A draft was circulated for review, comment and questions. These guidelines will help PTOs and other ‘school-based’ organizations, determine how to spend their funds. Included in the draft are elements surrounding technology, field trips, professional development and capital improvements. Dr. Lupini will continue to work on these guidelines. Once final, they will be available on the website.
3. Homework and Holiday Procedures – presented by Dr. Lupini, Superintendent of Schools
The Public Schools of Brookline has revised its policy regarding homework on ‘days of low attendance’ and other religious/ cultural holidays. A letter will be sent home to families shortly outlining this new policy and including all of the dates that are impacted by this new policy. The administration reviewed this policy in light of its core value, ‘Respect for Human Differences’ that is committed to acknowledging and celebrating the diversity within our community….” The Superintendent’s office was very clear that non-compliance with this policy on the part of individual classrooms will not be tolerated and that any deviation from the policy should be reported directly to the Principal, so that they may work with the teachers to accurately implement this new policy.
Notes from Q&A with Dr. Lupini, 03/09/12
Superintendent Lupini came to speak with the Pierce School community on Friday March 9. He discussed a number of topics, which are summarized briefly below.
The Superintendent then fielded questions from parents on several topics:
SUPERINTENDENT LUPINI UPDATE March 2012
Summary of PTO/Superintendent January 2012 Meeting
Summary of PTO/Superintendent December 2011 Meeting
Summary of PTO/Superintendent November 2011 Meeting